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 By Mark Rodden

AC Ajaccio defender Joris Sainati gets 16-month ban for double punch

Joris Sainati, in action for Istres, holds off Dijon midfielder Eric Bautheac.

AC Ajaccio's Joris Sainati has been hit with a massive 16-month suspension for punching two players during a Ligue 2 match last month.

Sainati, 26, became involved in a scuffle at the end of Ajaccio's home game against Tours on Aug. 28, during which his side had a 1-0 lead overturned in the final 10 minutes.

The defender player struck 18-year-old Tours goalkeeper Bingourou Kamara with a vicious blow from behind before landing another clean hit on 21-year-old midfielder Haris Belkebla.

Sainati was temporarily suspended soon after the game and the league's disciplinary commission delivered a damning final verdict on Thursday.

The commission's statement read: "Suspended on a provisional basis, since September 3, 2015 Joris Sainati [AC Ajaccio] is punished with a suspension of 16 months for having dealt two punches to the faces of two Tours FC players, including one that led to a temporary interruption of work for a period of more than eight days."

Soon after the incident, Sainati took to social media to apologise for his actions, claiming his reaction came after seeing Kamara strike one of his teammates.

The former Istres player later told France Football that he regretted his actions "200,000 percent."

"I was really annoyed," Sainati said. "There were insults from the Tours players all throughout the match.

"Then there was a little altercation at the end of the game. The Tours keeper slapped one of our young players, who incidentally isn't a professional, and that triggered everything.

"Then, frustrated by the match, annoyed, I had a simple heat-of-the-moment reaction to defend a young player in our team."

France under-20 international Kamara, who appeared before the disciplinary committee on Thursday, received a three-game ban for his actions. Ajaccio's Anthony Scribe will also serve a five-game suspension.

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